Interview

“What can I do for you. Mrs Walsh?”

“It’s a bit delicate, doctor. You know my husband’s condition?”

“Yes, but apart from a missing limb he’s quite well, isn’t he?”

“He’s very fit. He’s enjoying working with children. He makes a fine teacher  -but that’s part of the problem?”

“I don’t understand. You are getting on well together, aren’t you?”

” In a way – but he is asking me when we can try for a child of our own.”

“And you don’t want to?”

“It’s not that I don’t like children. If I could be sure our baby would be all right I’d love to start a family.”

“What makes you worry that it wouldn’t be?”

“My father. He isn’t very clever and he has serious hearing loss. If our child was like him I don’t know if I could cope.”

” Mrs Walsh, there’s no reason to believe such things are hereditary and even if they were they are much more manageable that a lot of other inherited problems. Is your father happy?”

” Yes, my mother is a great support and they have a good social life. I just remember how hard it was when I was growing up. Other children teased me about him and it took him a long time to find a job.”

” Have you discussed this with your husband?”

“No. I don’t think he’d understand. He thinks every disability can be overcome with enough willpower – typical soldier- and he wouldn’t like to think I was worrying unnecessarily. He wouldn’t know what to say. I don’t want to admit how I feel. It would upset him.”

“Think of it like this – any child can be born with problems but there is nothing to indicate a child of yours would have any greater chance of a disability than any other child. In fact, with a strong young father like Ryan there’s more likelihood of it being a strapping youngster. We’d keep an eye on you through the pregnancy. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Go ahead while you are still under thirty. You are more likely to have a healthy child while you are young.”

“Thank you, doctor. I do feel a bit better,now. I’ll talk to them at the clinic. I know my mother would love a grandchild.”

“If you want me to talk to your husband, I will, but I’m sure when you think it through you will make the right decision.”

( The characters in “Lane’s End” “Unstable Lane” and “The Third Lane.” after the trilogy has ended.)

‘New’ website

What a great response to my poem. Thanks, folks. Also, now I have updated my website, http://www.juliecround.co.uk I have more people looking at it. I do need to email some of my readers to tell them about it but , most of all, I hope it will bring in more invitations to speak as I don’t have any for 2018 and I know most groups organise their speakers a year in advance.

The poetry book is under discussion but until I am sure of the layout I can’t ask Joan for more cartoons. I wish I had kept a list of everyone who bought “Honey and Humbug” but I didn’t. That’s a lesson, folks, keep a list of all your readers. It seems cheeky but it helps when you write the next book!

Hubby has made a database so I can track all the stories I send out for competitions. That will be my next task, when this hot weather breaks. At present I don’t feel like doing anything!

Marking time

The pantomime has been put on hold as I realised that, although when I wrote it the references were topical, things change so quickly that the world could seem a very different place by Christmas. No matter, I have had a great response from folk who want to participate and I have noted their contact numbers for when I have updated the script.

The poetry anthology is nearly ready. I don’t know how many pages it will be until we get the layout right but there is a fine mix of thoughtful and funny verses.

I am about to revamp my website to emphasise the fact that I am happy to give talks. At the moment the books take centre stage but only the most recent one seems to be selling and the others deserve a look, especially “Never Run Away.” Every time we go to Morrisons I think of the action on the railway line in the story. Morrisons have changed the road layout and a lot of people are getting confused by the new one way system. Time will tell if it is an improvement.

Anthology

In the middle of editing the poetry anthology. Poems from four very different writers and I am wondering whether to keep the two different set ups. Some are written from the left margin and some centred. I quite like the variety but I’ll have to talk with my designer. I’d also like a border of some sort. I looked at some on line and I think I have found one I like but should it be the same on every page? Also, I have changed some of the punctuation and am tempted to restore the originals as they are how the author intended. I only found one spelling error in twenty poems. Now to get it all in order for October, when I am hoping we can make some sales.

The view from our house.

Hi folks, thanks for staying with me. I’m trying to find an image that will reproduce on twitter so folk know it’s me but I don’t have to change it every time.

I hope you liked the story. I am still working on the poetry anthology and will need to cast the pantomime, probably by September. I’ll be back when I have something to report.

Short Story. Bathtime (Part 3.)

Shivering with fright I pushed myself up on my elbows – but I could not balance well enough to stand. I would have to turn onto my knees. I gritted my teeth, twisted round and lifted one leg, then the other, over the side of the bath. I was crying now and my breath was coming in great gasps. Grabbing the towel from the heated rail I wrapped it around me.

I felt compelled to look for the snake. It had vanished. Frozen with fear I realised it must have come out of the tap and dropped into the water. If it was in the bath surely it could slide up the side and go anywhere? I needed to know where it was before I left the bathroom. The best I could hope for was that I could trap it in that room.

Yet I was afraid to look into the bath. All the water was a dirty reddish brown now and it was impossible to see if anything was moving in it. I was tempted to pull out the plug but did not dare reach over to do so in case the thing reared up to strike.

The tap was dripping now. There was no more smoke but the room still smelled as if something was burning. Was there anything I could put in the water to disable the creature? I had toilet cleaner, but that would not be strong enough. I was also getting very cold.

I looked at the bathroom door. Would it be enough to hold a snake or would the creature be able to slither underneath? There was a gap – but perhaps if I got out I could block it with something.

There was a ripple from the bath water and I could stand it no longer. I pulled at the door, raced out and slammed it shut. What could I find to block the gap? I felt I had to act fast but I also felt angry and spiteful. I wanted it to be something that would hurt or kill the creature – not merely a towel or a draught excluder. This was more than a draught – this was a nightmare!

Short Story. Bathtime(Part 2)

Something black seemed to be poking out of the tap. I watched, mesmerised, not believing what I was witnessing. Was it a piece of rubber washer, or something alive? Surely it was just an old twig that had fallen into the water tank and become dislodged?

Then, as it emerged, I realised it was a snake, but not the kind of snake I recognised. It wasn’t green, or patterned – it was almost black, but with a strange rusty sheen. Sticks do not wave their heads in the air; sticks do not have tongues that flick.

More of the snake was coming out of the tap. If I was to escape I would have to move now, quickly, something I had not done for years. Normally I would clamber onto my knees to get out of the bath –  but that meant turning my back on the creature. The handle on the wall was half way down the bath, too far to reach safely. There was no use shouting, no-one would hear me. I had to keep my eyes on the swaying head of the snake and ease myself up to lean on the back wall. My legs ached as I strained to keep my balance. I prayed the mat would stop my feet from slipping under me.

Most of the snake was visible now – and dark red liquid was pouring from the tap into the bath, turning the water brown. I clutched at the shower curtain and the pole shifted and creaked. It would not take my weight. I would have to climb out.